Four Wishes

 

Image courtesy of Diane Romanello

 

 

...For time

to heal and feel and breathe
free air unlaced with taint of death,
to ponder skies of patent blue
and kindled clouds of sunset hue,
to savour moments where life lives
and know no situation gives
of itself and without cost,
for in pursuit true life is lost

...and space

beyond encroaching walls,
a banished need for shopping malls,
those boundaries of every kind
breached on land, in heart and mind,
and false divisions that enlist
a pledge that puts us to the test,
removes our footprints with the tide
of cross-hatched plots and national pride

 ...and place

where energies recharge,
a refuge from the world at large
so inspiration finds its wings,
hard-earned spoils each season brings,
where travel can reveal new cultures
but foils the money-changing vultures,
lends atmospheres that tell of history
and conjures legends wreathed in mystery

...and Grace

in time and space to find
a place within our heart and mind
of peace, emblem of that heavenly home
where pearls exchange for purchased loam,
furnished by One who pierced the gloom
and snapped the bondage of the tomb
and rose to greet a golden dawn,
a mystic presence in our form

 

from Mysteries of Light (collection in preparation)

 

Copyright

© Rosy Cole 2018

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To the New Year

Make no promise.

Fill the heart.

Fill with time

For friends and art.

Fill with hope

In place of fear.

Fill with light

by which to steer.

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Novy God and the Kosher Shrimps

Perhaps some of you remember that in the early 90s in Israel one of the Israeli food companies (Chef Hayam?) produced frozen Kosher Shrimps. It sounds confusing, but actually they were bits of kosher fish which were made to look like shrimps. Since the Israeli customers, who bought the product, had never eaten a real shrimp, no one knew the difference..

A good friend of mine, an Orthodox Jew debated whether it was even ethical to eat them. Although she knew that the shrimps were Kosher, it felt wrong, and she was reluctant to eat something which pretended to be a shrimp.

The fact that this product disappeared from store freezers quite quickly might be an indication that my friend wasn’t the only one who felt that way.

Today on the radio, the Member of Knesset Ksenia Svetlova attempted to explain the meaning of Novy God (New year), to Benny Teitelbaum, another Orthodox Jew, as part of a campaign to make it an Israeli holiday.

More than one million Israelis who arrived from the former Soviet Union celebrate this family holiday on December 31st. It is the only secular holiday that they had in their old country.

As Ms Svetlova explained, in the former Soviet Union religious holidays were banned and as a child, like everyone else, she knew nothing about Judaism or Christianity.

But when Teitelbaum heard that a tree played part in this holiday all hell broke loose. He refused to listen any longer, and in a condescending way announced to the M.K  that Israel was a Jewish state, and the tree was Christian.

Although all around the world trees are traditional Christmas custom, like many other pagan symbols, Easter eggs for example, they do not have their origin in the New Testament and have no religious meaning.

Two years ago, before the last election, a member of the Knesset, Dr. Hanna Swaid, an Arab Christian, had sent an official request to Yuli Edelstein, the Speaker of the House, asking him to place a Christmas tree at the entrance to the Knesset building before the holiday, the Speaker refused. This is part of what I wrote then.

* * *

Granting a permission to place the tree at the entrance could have been a wonderful holiday gift from the Holy Land, showing Christian people in Israel and around the world the enlightenment of the Jewish nation. Such decision could have been a triumphant moment in that Speaker’s political career, singling him out as a leader dedicated to promote pluralism and religious tolerance toward minorities in our country.

I was disappointed, I had thought that the Speaker had more courage. He must have forgotten that, like him, many Soviet Jews left for Israel because they had suffered there due to their religious beliefs and their Zionism. He also didn't remember that Jewish people from his native land still celebrate New Year with a small Christmas Tree.

In Israel we have no separation of State and Church, but surely a Christmas tree in the Knesset would threaten no one. Besides, everyone knows that a tree is just a tree: Christ was born in the Middle East and not in the evergreen forests of Northern Europe, and the Christmas tree is more a holiday spectacle than a religious symbol.

* * *

I wouldn't like to think why it was so easy for Yuli Edelstein to refuse Hanna Swaid's request, but that was then. Now that his compatriot Ksenia Svetlova explained the secular meaning of the tree, perhaps like the shrimp, we could kosher the holiday and make more than million people proud of their heritage and comfortable in their identities as Israelis.

Happy New Year or Novy God

The essay appeared in the Times Of Israel

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/novy-god-and-the-kosher-shrimps/://blogs.timesofisrael.com/novy-god-and-the-kosher-shrimps/

 

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Growing

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A new energy is blowing in on the swirl of dry and dusty 35 knot, north winds. Its force rattles windows throughout the house as an exasperated energy eager yet unwieldy in its drive to blow through, loaded with new adventures and challenges. It comes as gusts that ignite grass and bush fires to clear remnants of the old and rejuvenate for the new, of hope for better. 

‘Forget last year and focus on the new year,’ I’ve heard it said so many times already. Last year brought its challenges and many want improvement. But why forget last year and all its teachings that have made us who we are today, ready for this new year and new adventures? Without the year-after-year of building upon previous foundations we wouldn’t be ready and capable to take on this next year of 2015. I certainly wouldn’t be.

Last year brought a wild ride of endings and beginnings, challenges and triumphs. And with that came all manner of change that toughened and transformed thinking on both global and personal levels. 

Conflict and crisis continued around the world and impacted many, like the 12-year old suffering leukaemia who could not receive the appropriate medical attention because of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. That child died. There was the Ebola outbreak that began in Guinea and spread to neighbouring countries and the two Malaysia Airlines flights that saw 537 people die - one being shot down by a missile over Ukraine with the question of who fired that shot still unanswered, and another that disappeared without a trace. Gough Whitlam died. He passed the Racial Discrimination Act in Australia and introduced free tertiary education and paid maternity leave in the 1970’s. And then there was the quest to land on a comet. So much more news from 2014 can be found at http://www.google.com.au/trends/2014. 

My year sparked from the high peaks of the roller-coaster in palpitating and flirtatious heart beats, to my gut being wrenched in crazy plummet from those highs. I questioned honesty and integrity, and what I considered extremist and calculated behaviour when confronted by bullies and a level of betrayal of my openness and honesty. It made me realise once again that what is important to one person may not be important to another and that passions and beliefs fuel actions that are individual to all of us. Simple in its prose but quite a process in thinking!

Success and celebration abounded too, of my children’s achievements and of my own, with people believing in my writing, whether for adults or for children. Sometimes those celebrations came with a twist of quirkiness, as in waiting up until 2.57 am to quietly see in a thirteenth birthday with the birthday boy! 

Then Christmas came and suddenly I found myself questioning traditions. A tradition after all, is simply a custom, behaviour or habit that we develop and act on. In my growing family, I never thought we had traditions as each year was different from the next. Until this year when the question was raised about breakfast on Christmas day and how we must have our cooked ham, eggs and croissants as always, regardless of having to prepare for 43 lunch guests, which in itself was another break in tradition. As was New Year’s Eve celebrations when for the first time, the two older boys went to friends’ parties to wait in the new year.

Ultimately, last year was a year that pushed boundaries and thinking and in reality, was an undertone that existed in all previous years too. It highlights one thing: the need to live in fluidity. 

There will always be want and desire, challenge and triumph. Some things we desperately desire, others we’re happy to sell off! In the end, all we can do is be limber in our movement through the clearing, in all its frenetic and subliminal under currents.

Best I slide open those windows for as Gough Whitlam once said, "When you are faced with an impasse you have got to crash through or you've got to crash."

 
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Latest Comments

Stephen Evans Going to the Dickens
14 January 2018
Thank you! That sounds just my style
Katherine Gregor Going to the Dickens
14 January 2018
I haven't yet been able to read a Dickens novel in ful (shame on me).May I recommend a wonderful New...
Katherine Gregor Four Wishes
14 January 2018
Amen to this.
Stephen Evans Four Wishes
11 January 2018
Devoutly to be wished.
Stephen Evans Going to the Dickens
05 January 2018
Thank you! Ken has reminded me that I read A Tale of Two Cities in school. I am moving on to Carson ...

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